You can stream or download this show here:
For a few years I have been doing a radio show (“No Pigeonholes”) on Berlin’s Independent radio station, Radio On.
Generally on this station and program I have featured material from the Cassette Culture era (approx 1980-2000). On this particular show I focused on vinyl releases created by hometapers and underground artists of this time period. Most were highly obscure hometapers but there were a couple of greater renown.
A few comments about the music on this program and my memories of the time.
In the mid 80s and 90s I was getting a lot of submissions for the radio show daily. It was difficult to keep up and assure personal contact with every artist that sent me a tape, record or CD. It has always been important to me to document and notify people who I play on the show. I know some college DJs and others who simply play the material (if you’re lucky) and you never find out about it. I wanted my interactions to be more personal.
It wasn't always possible to give people deeply personal, handwritten notes but I tried my best. And, in the very early days not only would I send playlists (and my music catalogs) but I would send people cassette copies of the show they had their music played on, and many times, my own music in trade.
After awhile this element kind of dried up when I realized that many artists did not even want my own music tapes. They were generally happy to get the radio tapes but that soon became difficult and costly, especially to Europe or outside the USA.
People seemed happy enough just to have their music aired on my show and to be notified of a radio appearance. As I used to say… “your first airplay, and maybe your last”.
Here’s what I recall about the music on this show:
Bugo/ Questione D'eternita/ Questione D'eternita/ Bar La Muerte 7" 1999
I don't really remember getting this and although I remember having many contacts in Italy I cannot recall the person's name who sent it. I think it was an Italian guy who ran a label. This is a strangely angular, head bopper of a tune sung in Italian.
Trespassers W/ You/ Macht Kaputt EP/ Pillow Talk 7" 1987?
A favorite band from the first time I heard them, Trespassers W were an intelligent, almost literary group from The Netherlands, who dabbled in politics and topical situations while rocking, rolling and purveying a type of progressive rock that blended cabaret and other styles into a unique whole.
Monster Squad/ Death & Destruction / Monster Squad/ ---7" 2001
Hardcore punk in the original 70s fashion. Hard, fast, angry but filled with hooky segments and breaks. This came from a 7” record that I don't recall much about.
Steine Fur Den Frieden/USS Weltpolizei/ Romp 7" late 80s
More hard and fast material sprouting from these Euro punks. Not really that poppy but it changed speeds from fast to even faster and then slower again. Good energy although not a lot of melody to hang onto.
Keith Levene & Hillel Slovak/ Clothesline/ split with Kendra Smith/ Overzealous 7" 90’s?
Of course Levene was well known as a member of Johnny Rotten’s Public Image Limited group and Slovak was well known as the guitarist for The Red Hot Chili Peppers. In those days I probably would not have even played this on the show because I was sort of an elitist. If anyone ever heard of you I wouldn't touch it. But on this archival broadcast show I found this odd little 7” in the collection and thought “why not”? Its a fun, funky oddity as you might imagine when these two get together. No vocals, just hip shaking rhythms and flourishes.
Die Kuche/ Granada V8/ Die Kuche/ Stetzer 7" early 2000’s?
I’m pretty sure this 7” was given to me by my good German friend, Achim Treu (Dauerfisch, Kunstler Treu, Der Plan), when he visited me in about 2001. I don't think he had anything to do with it but he knew I liked bizarre, underground productions.
And he probably knew the artists in this group which means “The Kitchen” in German.
There is some ultra cool jazzy organ that really drives this instrumental. I think they had other material but not sure.
Pop Threat/ Ripen/ Ripen/ Squirrel Records 7" 2001
A jangly Brit pop female fronted band that hits the right spot for me. Verse, chorus, verse with a neat spoken middle part. Good full band sound too.
The Saturday Nights/ Rabid Wolves/ Rabid Wolves/ ---7" 2000’s?
Tremolo rocker with a certain amount of twee to make it more modest. They ramp it up during the middle and overall a decent tune. Don’t remember the person who sent it. An American band I believe.
Dubeaumont/ Les Ronds Bleu/ La Vie D'un Garcon/ L'usine 7" late 80s
An odd 7” vinyl compilation of various French weirdos. I don’t recall much about this particular band but they certainly reek of Frenchness so much you can taste the croissant and stinky cheese. Poppy but filled with a resistance fever.
Populaire Mechanik/ Muster/ Muster/ ---7" 1981
I believe this band went through a couple of incarnations, this one being the first. I really have always dug this tune. Very funky and catchy with vocals that aren't really melodic but the beat is so insistent it doesn't matter. Don't ever let them tell you Germans are not funky.
Davey Williams/ Firing Up The Old Sikorsky/ Carbon/ Table Of The Elements 7" 1993
Davey has been well known in the improv scene forever and although a more major “name”, this rare 7” on the Table Of The Elements label is as crazy and avant garde as you might like. Beautifully packaged and a real collectors item.
Garlic/ Drink Induced Conversations/ ---/---7" early 2000’s
A mid tempo mumbler from a band that combined Brit mopeyness with American style country. Super cool tune.
Sleepy People/ Home Is Where The Telly Is/ ---/ Soporific Foundation 7" 1997
I never could quite understand this band. Were they Bowie influenced poseurs? Were they post prog slick style rockers circa The Nice 1968? In retrospect they had a lot going for them with undeniable execution and talent and probably dressed up too.
Bubblegum Thunder/ Describing The Symptoms/ ---/Dada Records 7" 1993
A great and rough rocker from these Jersey-ites (if I recall correctly ). This is what grunge should have been. Reminds me a little of MX-80 Sound (a good thing).
Alphane Moon/ To Almondine/Circle Of Four/ Spiffing 7" 1995
I always truly dug the psych instrumental space nature of this group. They appeared on some tapes and even made some vinyl including this one, a green colored 7” on an obscure British label.
Alvaro & Toshiyuki Hiraoka/ Perfection Is Boring/ ---/ Hard Disc 7" 1992
Alvaro was known as “The Chilean with the singing nose” and was a real character. I couldn't tell whether or not he was kidding and what the deal was. But he kept at it and convinced me he was real, and quirky. Here, he teamed up with the great Japanese hometaper, Toshiyuki Hiraoka, who put out his own cassettes and was always a favorite of mine.
Pamela Z/ Echolocation/ Echolocation/ ---cassette 1988
All the other material on this show was from vinyl but this one was from a cassette that San Francisco area artist, Pamela Z put out. There were very few African American women artists working in the underground at that time, at least that I was aware of. And she is/was a most highly creative artist doing interesting sounds. Using echo and effects she also created some incredibly catchy tunes that could be called avant pop. People like Holly Herndon and others are in debt to this original, talented artist.
Don't forget, I still accept your original music for the radio. Go to www.doncampau.com and click the “submit” link for details. You can also click the links to hear recent radio shows, my own music and more.
And, although I have not worked on it for sometime now there is still some good, archival information (and tons of free music) at my Living Archive Of Underground Music site:
and lastly, Frank Maier is doing fantastic work at:
He is creating a huge database with pictures and sound files and has now collected at least twenty five thousand tapes. Frank is officially now The King Of Cassettes. Drop by and see his progress.
My name is Don Campau and I have been involved in underground and non mainstream music and radio since 1969. I continue to be an active home taper and Cassette Culture archivist with my own site, The Living Archive.